Note: This post now also appears on PRcareers.co.uk along with lots of other useful PR careers advice.
So you’ve mastered the CV format and written a brand spanking new one following the the brilliant guidelines in my book but you’ve still got that pesky bit at the bottom to write – the bit most people call “hobbies”. So what do you do if you don’t actually have any hobbies? Should you leave that section blank? I think that everyone has something interesting to say about their pastimes and there’s a number of ways you can tackle it.
Firstly, don’t title that section “hobbies”. Give it a broader name like “additional information” which will give you a broader range of subjects to write about. Then, start including anything which makes you interesting. Interviewers use this section of your CV to find out a bit more about you as a person, so it can help to give them a rounded picture of you. This is particularly true if you don’t have much work experience – if they can’t ask you about your career history, then your education and personal interests are going to feature much more heavily during the interview process.
Divide your interests into sections, so sports, music, literature, art, charity, cookery, travel etc. Under each section write something about that interest. Below I’ve given you a few examples:
Sports: Play five-a-side football for the local pub team. Manage children’s under 8 team for local primary school.
Societies & clubs : Member of my university Afro-Caribbean society. Member of Little Rock amateur dramatic club.
Music: Play bass guitar in prog-rock band. Particularly keen on classical music, especially Handel.
Literature: Keen reader of historical fiction. Favourite author is Alison Weir.
Charity: Volunteer for the local women’s refuge. Walked 300 miles across the Namibian dessert to raise £3,000 for a children’s charity.
Travel: Travelled extensively and have visited places which include Turkey, America, Hong Kong, Australia, China, France, Germany, South Africa.
Cookery: Currently taking an evening Thai cookery course.
Crafts: I have recently completed a glass blowing course.
By fleshing out the information on each section, it gives the interviewer the opportunity to ask you about your interests in more detail. Most employers are particularly keen on activities which show you work well in a team – so playing team sports or being part of a band, orchestra or choir are always good examples of this. Steer clear of using “socialising” as a hobby – it suggests you spend a lot of time in the pub!
You should also use this section to list any further accomplishments, like additional training, any work you may have published and any posts you hold outside of work. Like this:
Training: Completed the PRCA Digital PR course, July 2012. First aider qualified.
Published Work: Author of “How to get a PR job”, published January 2011
Posts held: Governor of Little Stippleton High School. Trustee of Rocking Aid charity. At University I was treasurer of the Student Union.
Finally, you should include any skills which haven’t already been featured on your CV. This may include IT packages you use and languages you speak. Make sure you clarify how proficient you are in them:
IT Skills: Advanced user of Microsoft Office, Sage and SAP.
Languages: Fluent in French. Conversational Spanish.
You might be surprised at how much you can write once you get thinking about it. Of course, if you spend all your spare time in front of the telly, now might be the time to discover a passion for something you can talk about in an interview.
For more CV advice, click here.
For an detailed look at careers in the PR industry including how to write a decent CV and cover letters buy my book: How To Get A Job In PR